AbstractRecently, synthetic gene carriers have been intensively developed owing to their promising application in gene therapy and considered as a suitable alternative to viral vectors because of several benefits. But cationic polymers still face some problems like low transfection efficiency, cytotoxicity, and poor cell recognition and internalization. The emerging engineered and smart polymers can respond to some changes in the biological environment like pH change, ionic strength change and redox potential, which is beneficial for cellular uptake. Redox-sensitive disulfide based and hydrolytically degradable cationic polymers serve as gene carriers with excellent transfection efficiency and good biocompatibility owing to degradation in the cytoplasm. Additionally, biodegradable polymeric micelles with cell-targeting function are recently emerging gene carriers, especially for the transfection of endothelial cells. In this review, some strategies for gene carriers based on these bioreducible and hydrolytically degradable polymers will be illustrated.